Rec_Overflow: Madrid

.tape.: Paintings

Under the moniker .tape. (not to be confused with the Häpna group Tape), Spanish artist Daniel Romero alchemizes acoustic guitar, xylophone, accordion, and violin sounds into warm and crystal-clear electronic lullabies on his spa.RK debut Paintings. And that they literally are, as each of the ten pieces presents a richly coloured canvas of tiny noises, bubbly loops, and luminous toy melodies. Intricately detailed, folktronic landscapes like “With Paul” are wholly inviting, summery in spirit, and free of abrasive dissonance. “Frankly Rendered” seems a collision of two pieces, one a frantic stream of scurrying electronics, the other a peaceful intermingling of warm sine tones, xylophone, and toy percussion while “Mountain Office” offers a more crystalline take on the ambient-glitch stereotype. The addition of soft vocals (from Paul Slocum and Steven Scott), violin, and double bass (from Angélica Negrón and Luis Solis) sweetens considerably Romero's sparkling base during “The Projectionist.” Though .tape, doesn't advance the existing template in revolutionary manner, Paintings is still an inarguably accomplished collection that will definitely appeal to listeners seeking out an Oval-Lullatone hybrid.

Like .tape., Madrid-based Rec_Overflow also makes his spa.RK debut and, while his collection of glitch-hop digital crunch doesn't sound entirely new either (imagine a fusion of Richard Devine, Spezial Materials acts like HP Stonji,. Solarium, and Intricate, and early Autechre), the unidentified producer stakes a legitimate claim to rightful membership within the increasingly crowded electronic ranks. Madrid's eleven pieces manifest no shortage of detail—ample doses of scratchy splatter, clickety beats, moody tonescaping, and fragmented vocal grunts course through much of it—but the material has a tendency to meander and sometimes overstays its welcome; there's no doubting Rec_Overflow's talent for sculpting detailed atmospheres and liquid sound design but a greater range of dynamic contrasts and compositional development would have taken the disc's material to a higher level.

March 2006